My 'new' G4 Mac

A friend at work sent out an email at work saying that he was selling his G4 Power Mac; the price was good and I have been wanting a decent Mac for some time now. Before the day was out, I had purchased the Mac and brought it home. The first thing I did was take it apart (of course):

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64 bit PCI Slots (33Mhz only!) Dual CPU heastsink Heatsink + RAM
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Power and IDE 2+3 detail AirPort Card Interface HD 1 & 2 position under power supply
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Optical drive bays + system fan Optical drive bays - open Optical drive pays and HD 3 & Positioning
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Detail of HD 3 & 4 installation 120x120x58mm System Fan Speaker

I will say one thing for Apple; they spend a hell of a long time designing their cases; I am very impressed that I can remove a PCI slot cover without having to loosen the screw for the adjacent cover- a problem that I seem to have on every PC case I have ever used!

Other nuances include carefully routed IDE and power cables. The motherboard has three IDE ports- allowing installation of up to two optical drives and four 3.5" hard drives. So far I am content with the included 'super drive', but I replaced the 80GB drives (one stock from Apple, the other a previous expansion) with a 120GB Maxtor and a 250GB Hitachi drive. I also upgraded the RAM from 512MB to 1.5GB (and soon on to 2GB if I can find some more 512MB DDR DIMMs!)

I was driving myself nuts trying to get the IDE drives to be recognized for OS X installation; the drives are set on cable select and I was trying different drives/cable positions/jumper settings as they were not visible as 'available devices' during the OS X setup. I later found out that I need to go under 'disk utilities' on the main menu and partition the drives so the installer can see them! After I figured this out I had OS X installed in about 20 mins.

The drive cages are identical- so I can take drives 1 & 2 and change position with drives 3 & 4 without having to take everything out of the cages! I believe that the interface for drives 1 & 2 supports UDMA 100 while the other interfaces (optical drives and HDs 3 & 4) only support UDMA 66.

Today I took apart the Mac again and replaced the fans in the power supply- roughly following the instructions on the xlor8yurmac website.

The 60x60x25mm fans in my system were Nidec TA225DC (Model M34418-16) fans; these are rated at 25CFM airflow and 31dBA of noise pressure. I replaced them with some Link Depot FAN-60125-B fans from Fry's that are rated at 21.3CF and 27.8dDA. Not a drastic change in noise, but it does sound a little quieter than before (I believe one of the prior fans had a resonance going- now it is a more consistent hum).




New fans already installed in power supply

Old Fans with connectors cut off

Fans installed and ready for wiring




The magic of heat-shrink tubing

A little cable routing + zip ties

Detail of plugs



Cabling complete

Back to normal

I also tried the power supply insert suggestion- but it is very hard to tell if it actually helped.

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a piece of padding to isolate the fans from the G4 case

Some scotch tape to hold it in place

Finally I installed a $15 USB card in the system to give me USB 2.0 ability; trying to sync my iPhone over USB 1.1 was going to take days! It silently installed in OS X and works great.

Future projects may include upgrading the CPU to a dual 1.8Ghz (currently a dual 867Mhz) or installing an AirPort Card; the later seems pretty useless as I have a 1Gbps LAN connection already. The former seems a little insane as this upgrade is in excess of $500- and for a little more I could get a used 1.8Ghz dual G5 system off of eBay! I would also love an iSight camera- but some places have this guy listed at over $500!

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